In the past five days, there have been six bias incidents on campus.
This sort of behavior, regardless of whether or not it was committed by a University student, is morally reprehensible. What makes it even worse is that it is not at all surprising. At the end of 2017, the FBI reported that over the past two years, rates of hate crimes had risen nationwide. The problem that arises in Indiana, however, is that there is no hate crime statute, making it one of only five states in the country without one. So the burden of punishment falls upon the shoulders of the University.
What is it going to take for DePauw to take action? Empty emails with vague descriptions of these incidents and promises of more conversations won’t cut it. Day of Dialogue has now been happening for four years and it has clearly not worked. There have also been planned open forums under two different presidents, but that has not worked either. Six bias incidents in the past three days shows that these things have not worked.
During Jenna Fischer’s talk yesterday, student activists demonstrated the rage felt by communities of color on campus. Administrators present further showed just how disconnected they remain from those communities, both in lack of responses and obvious ignorance. The live feed was cut after a protester was given a microphone to a commercial for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, no less. This just further emphasizes the desires of those who wish to sweep this demonstration under the rug.
People are hurting, lives are in danger, and another email will not suffice. By this we don’t mean to once again place the burden of finding solutions on the students of color. DePauw needs to take decisive action, but privileged people need to show up, educate themselves, and hold each other accountable. This means that those that have privilege need to be willing to speak up and call other privileged people out on their biases. These conversations can also not stop in two weeks because being able to ignore the six bias incident reports is a privilege.
When someone calls you out for your behavior, take it as a gift and reflect on your privilege and the biases you hold. There is a lot of unlearning to be done, but you can start by showing up and educating yourself.